Stop it (both a rant and a reflection on current attitudes)

You know I think I’m finally getting the hang of this new editor, yay!

Well if you were curious, I am better today, have been for a couple days, starting icing my inflamed muscles and taking Prilosec (for acid reflux) and I’ve been eating much better.

And another great thing that happened this week was the Oh Hellos (that band I keep leaving links to at the bottom of my posts) dropped another EP, liking it so far. Musical genius. I am actually listening to them as I write.

Plus a friend I have not seen since the lockdown began finally came to Youth Group again.

So, with some good things happening, what should I write about?

How messed up the world is right now? Yeah…

You know, I try to refrain from ranting about it and getting into politics a whole lot, because that’s not really what I want to write about, and I think too many people complain about the world in their blogs, I won’t start naming names because I still like those bloggers, YouTubers, and others, but…seriously?

Here’s a thought that keeps coming back to me over this year.

Stop. Just… stop.

Why do you bother?

I really don’t get the appeal of being “woke” about stuff, giving the hot take on the events of the world like you are some kind of expert on it. Like you really have such a great grasp of the global climate and the suffering of other people.

Now, I am all about Free Speech, I believe that the right to give our opinions in public is the only protection from tyranny we have.

And I believe that even the idiot’s right to free speech must be protected. after all, if the fools don’t speak, they will not expose their foolishness, as Proverbs assures us they will.

My issue with how it currently is is that the fools are the only ones speaking, most of the time, and people of true wisdom simply stay out of the quarrel.

Like the anime movie title, there’s a Silent Voice in both America, and other countries in political trouble right now. There’s the people who just go quietly about their lives, thinking more wise thoughts, and they won’t let on.

Proverbs also tells us that Wise men will guard their tongues and not speak unnecessarily. Which is not really talking about small talk and humor, as some people have been taught by too strict churches, but talking about saying what is better left unsaid, or saying something at the wrong time.

Proverbs says “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Meaning there’s a right time and place to speak, and a right manner.

JAmes says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Doesn’t sound like our modern social world does it?

Well, newsflash that the media won’t ever tell you: This is nothing new. People have always been prone to petty arguments, talking over each other, and throwing insults more than reasoning.

It’s hilarious to me when people bemoan how free thought and reason have fallen out of popularity…when were they ever in popularity? There have been a few golden ages in the history of the World where Wisdom was perhaps sought after and respected by many people, but those times were decades at most usually.

When church leaders (not just in the church, it’s all over, but I hear it most there for obvious reasons) say we need to get back to being kind, and need to remember that, and not drift, I want to laugh. They mean well, but I always think, “have you read the bible? This isn’t new. Tell us to be better by all means, but don’t imply that we ever didn’t have these same problems. These are just human problems. They have existed since the fall. They will exist until the new kingdom comes.”

The real wake up call anyone reading this needs, if they haven’t had it already, is to realize this is not something that happened because humans have changed, but because they haven’t and won’t.

This is not unusual.

2020 as a whole has been a weird year, to be sure, but the problems it exposed in our culture are not really Racism, Intolerance, or radicalism to unhealthy amounts on both sides of our political spectrum. It was not arrogance, pride, or pettiness.

Oh no, if you didn’t already know all that existed, boy were you either stupid or sheltered way more than a homeschooler ever is. Read a book, seriously, I’ve known about this stuff since I was a kid, just in varying forms.

But I’m sure you did know. I don’t care if you don’t even live in the USA, it’s the same everywhere. You cold live in a remote African village, or in rural China, (though I doubt you’d be reading this if you did) and you could tell me the same crap happens there as I’m describing, it’s just undocumented.

You know what 2020 really revealed to me, I knew it already, but I never saw it so clearly before:

Just how Self-Aggrandizing, Whiny, and Anxiety obsessed my country is.

And it’s not just the young people, though it scares me how prevalent it is for them, at least in my state.

But, oh my gosh, have we gotten delusional.

I hear people say constantly that the world has never been through this kind of thing, the country has never been through this kind of thing, and we are in something new.

I mean, seriously? None of the other crisises in history came close to this one? This one that was made much better by having tech we could connect with each other through, and keep our businesses running with, and our churches. For a national or global crisis, this has been remarkably cushy, the psychological effects are far worse than the materiel ones for most of us who have not lost someone to the virus, or lost our jobs, but even those of us who did suffer that had more resources than the average Crisis victim in any past tragedy would have.

I got handouts I didn’t even ask for from my school, lots of people have.

And the political corruption line? Really. That’s been every single election since Washington stepped down and Reagan served his 2nd term.

I ask you Americans who read this, what do you think we deserve, anyway?

If you are on the Left, what makes you think we are so entitled to social justice?

Your side promotes murdering innocent children, pushing ideologies in schools that many parents don’t like, and pushing secularism and Evolution, a worldview that has absolutely not a shred of evidence.

If you are on the Right, why are you blaming the Left for ruining this country?

Who has sat back and done nothing, for decades? Or at most, protested and petitioned in weak ways, but not gone to the real battleground and taken back our schools and counties, and gotten social media savvy, and tried to understand what kids are up against now, instead of blaming them fro being brainwashed when no one tried to stop it.

I mean, I’ll give the Left this, they make themselves heard, they have popular platforms, they know how to appeal to kids.

The Right often to me does not even try to understand what we like, they just tell us what we should like. In my personal experience, it’s gotta be old music, old fashions, old ways of doing things. And anyone who doesn’t like that is just a snowflake wimp.

So much for being the trendsetters.

No, though I support Conservative ideology, the actual actions of Conservative often fail to impress me. There’s some very cool ones out there, but many just sit on their duffs and complain and say it’s all wrong, and do nothing whatsoever that will ever be remotely useful in the long run.

So, I ask, what ecactly do you expect?

You can call this years election a joke, but this is exactly what you asked for, and you know how?

Because you fall for the click-bait, you start the arguments, you rail at people who don’t agree with you.

You demonize the other side, and you worship any leader who echoes your opinions.

But what’s worse than all that, is you actually have the audacity to feel sorry for yourself. To feel you’ve already lost, and that your life will be forever ruined by forces you cannot control.

And that absolutely can and has happened, in the past, but you take it on before it’s actually set in stone, and live your life afraid of the future, and what the opposing side will do to you.

(I don’t mean all this as necessarily someone who is reading this does that, though it’s possible, I mean to the grander audience of people who complain in general)

Now, it may be no one knows what to do. But why not just admit that and start praying? Why must me insist on being so arrogant that we will deny just how clueless we really are, and refuse to seek wisdom, to study how it was done in the past, and how real changes were actually made.

I am so sick of the Self Pity. How dare we feel sorry for ourselves when we have the most freedom to control our fate, and people would kill for that in oppressed countries. And they must look at us in amazement at how scared we are.

Believe me, I get scared by the corruption too, but I have not yet been convinced that I am helpless. There are measures still open to me, and at the very least, if I can change nothing, I can at least choose not to compromise.

We asked for this. We really did. And we didn’t try to stop it. Why? Because we decided we liked anger, we liked hatred, we liked ignorance.

And I am not talking about racism or bigotry as the media defines it, I mean the pure corruption in this country that people can’t stop whining about, just as if they didn’t all contribute to it.

It’s like the Hunger Games, if nobody watched it, this gruesome, sick, charade couldn’t keep going.

69 The Hunger Games HD Wallpapers | Background Images - Wallpaper Abyss

So why do we watch it?

Part of the point of that saga is not that people will necessarily force kids to fight for food in a post apocalyptic future, it’s that people will accept evil that they do not have to accept, if it’s entertaining. That people will be fooled into thinking they can do nothing about it, if they are shown something as normal, and as supported by rich, privileged higher ups. Who in turn think they can do nothing, because people pay them for this.

That’s why things are this way this year.

And all the whining about how awful it is is not going to change a thing, that’s part of the problem. You do realize that the facade literally depends on us complaining about it instead of actually trying to improve our own lives.

I’ll tell you, if we all tried to improve our own lives alone, we’d have changed this country years ago, let alone if we tried to help out others.

That’s what Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness means, guys. The freedom to pursue the best life for yourself possible, whatever the confines of your situation are. People cam to America with nothing and became rich, not because they had “privileges” but because they believed they could change their situation.

Despite many bad legal decisions in the last few decades, that is still true and has not yet quite disappeared, though many foolish people are trying to remove it.

I don’t have a plan to fix this country, nor do I necessarily think it will be fixed, because I am much more concerned with individuals and how they think, and feel.

I am just using politics as an example because it’s an obvious one, but what I’m saying applies to all areas of life.

Just stop. Stop commenting on everything. Stop complaining about everything.

Stop talking about how corrupt our leaders are, you’re the one who even watches the news to get told who to vote for, why are you surprised when they make a sensation, that’s what you asked for, because you like feeling stirred up (nobody who doesn’t like that watches the news, trust me.)

Guess what, there are other candidates who dion’t get coverage at all, do you bother looking into them?

Stop trying to sound smart.

Stop trying to diagnose the problem.

Stop thinking that talking about it is a solution.

Like, raising awareness, what is the point of raising awareness? It stops nothing. It only intimates people who might actually do the right thing if it wasn’t shoved in their faces how terrible they are for not doing it.

But, hey, no one has to listen to me. I know that. I know that I am talking to myself here as much as anyone. But this is the best advice I could give myself. Like Portia and Alice, I don’t always follow it, easy to say, not easy to do.

But even so, I am learning.

The real reason the Bible advises us not to get too concerned with world events is because Jesus knew just how much of a trap it is, trying to fix the world that cannot be fixed, and getting sucked into the void of trying to find the perfect solution that doesn’t exist.

Because Jesus is and always will be the only Perfect Solution to anything and everything. And he cannot be controlled by us and our efforts, though he may use them.

I think, in the end, many people my age wouldn’t even argue with me that there is no real answer in this world, they just lack the hope that there is a better world with the answer that we can be a part of.

Which saddens me. The only real way to prevent despair is to hope in something that cannot be taken away by the world’s circumstances.

Christians get flack for focusing on what is unseen, and what is often vague and hard to understand, on a distant Heavenly future instead of solving the present problems.

But remember Christianity was founded under a wold dominion, a time when a human solution to the problem seemed impossible. That was why it was so clear why Heaven had to be the answer.

Because God’s kingdom must be untouchable by man’s rules or ways, or it is weak and empty, just like our own. So it can’t be an earthly kingdom. No earthly kingdom is permanent, if you set your hope in that, you might as well despair now.

So, to wrap this up, my final thought it that I will hate to see my world collapses around me, and I hope it doesn’t for a very long time, but I now it will, sooner or later, and when it happens, I want to find the rock under my feet was always something that the world couldn’t take away from me, because it wasn’t o f the world to begin with.

And I encourage people to think about that, as this year draws to a close. You lost a lot more than you expected, but what did you find unshakable? If there was nothing, then maybe you built your life on the wrong thing to begin with.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

How do I know what I believe is True?

One philosophy you hear a lot nowadays is that we should respect each other’s beliefs because all beliefs are equally good.

I don’t know anyone who actually believes that, but I do hear plenty of people try to end arguments with it.

Nobody interested in discussion could actually believe that line. Go into any forum online and find people arguing about the dumbest crap imaginable, and see how right they think they are.

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)

But as G. K. Chesterton said “There is a thought that destroys thought.”

I could get into all that today, but it’s more of a lead in to what I really want to talk about:

Since people do make the claim quite often that Christians avoid hard questions about their faith, I try to occasionally tackle them on this blog, just to show I’m not afraid of it and there are answers.

Today, I was thinking of a question that sometimes bothers me, and has since I was a kid.

Which is: In all the myriad of philosophies, theologies, and ideologies out there, how can you know that you’ve found the one and only correct one?

Problem and Solution: The many versions of Christianity.

Actually, my sister was recently in a YouTube thread debate where one particularly angry person demanded how Christians could know we were right when there’s like 30,000 sects of Christianity out there, who all think they’re right.

Firstly, while that’s a good question, I have to point out it’s not a good litmus test. There’s sects of every single religious and worldview, even the secular ones. Honestly, the more compelling it is, the more sects there are because people are always anxious to make their own version of the really compelling stuff.

Consider a Religion to be like a piece of art, a really good movie, for example. There’s always hundreds of knock-offs, some that do a good job parodying the original, some that make you question how anyone could ever like this kind of crap, but there’s imitators, rip-offs, and paying homage to the legacy. That’s just with something as small as a movie, or a painting.

I mean, Mr. Peabody features a cartoon version of the Mona Lisa because it’s such a great piece of artwork, doesn’t make it accurate, but the imitation is proof of the original’s far reaching influence, over half a millennium of time thereabouts.

So, if there truly are around 30,000 sects of Christianity, it only shows how many people find the core of it to be true, even if the trimmings and trappings cause division. Like how C. S. Lewis, Chesterton, and many others can write books summarizing the key components of Christianity that we all can and should agree on if we believe the Bible, but they have different beliefs about practice.

I know nowadays two powerful apologetics ministries, and one believes you can use the basic prayer that people put on tracts in order to lead someone to God, and the other believes that’s wrong and you should have them pray from their own hearts. Both oft em are very successful, honest organizations that really believe in what they are doing.

Personally, do I have a preference? Sure. But I don’t feel it’s worth arguing over. The Bible doesn’t say how you have to do it, and people should go with what they feel is genuine.

Actually, did you know the Bible says all you have to do to be saved is “Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the Dead” (Romans) So, that’s pretty open to interpretation of how you could do it.

The need for the absolute truth

However, there is a huge difference between saying people have their own paths to the Truth, and saying that Truth itself has different paths. And paths to what? When you make truth a means to an end instead of the end itself, what exactly is the use of knowing it?

Meditation on happy things just because they make you feel happy (the gist of most Eastern meditation as we in the West now practice it) is rather pointless if they are not in reality, True.

I’ve never been comfortable with that idea, I have to have a truth to think on, I can’t just think. I get really stressed if I just think.

So, that said. How do I know that what I believe is right? How can I have the most true version of Christianity.

Well, it is probaly arrogant to assume I do. But here’s how I try to shape my worldview to make it at least as accurate as I can.

Tests I apply to my Worldview.

When I decide to believe a doctrine, I don’t just do it because I grew up hearing it. I have parents who read, study, and think critically a lot, so I usually give their opinions a good deal of weight. Unlike many kids, I can count on my parents having read about whatever they tell me is rue, and compared it to other opinions. They have blind spots, true, but they try at least to do their homework.

In fact, it was weird to me when I got old enough to realize most parents don’t actually study to see if what they tell their kids is true or not. They just tell them whatever they’ve heard themselves. (Ah, homeschooling, the most beneficial form of education to this day).

I can’t name any real differences in what I believe and what my mom believes, though I can with my dad.

One: Study

But I didn’t just assume my mom was right. I read the books too. I read a lot of books about Christian doctrine as a teen, and I still do as an adult. I am always excited to find if someone has seen something I haven’t. God tends to end my certain books right at the time a new chapter in my life is opening and I need them.

When I read “Orthodoxy” someone else had finally put into words what I had felt about my faith and it’s all encompassing nature, and it was at a time when I was about to enter some very secular, anti-religious Philosophy and later History classes. It helped me to have that fresh in my mind, and I was able to use it to see my way clear through the confusion.

Test 2: Credibility (primary and secondary theology)

When I find a really good book, by an author I believe to be genuine, I am much more likely to include it in my doctrine. C. S. Lewis was a man whose personal character can be attested to by so many of his peers, students, and predecessors that I have little doubt he really believed what he wrote.

Plus, I can check it against scripture.

Most importantly, when I find a bunch of good, well studied men have agreed on certain points, I am more likely to give it credibility.

Lewis, Chesterton, MacDonald, and others all had similar ideas of Chioice, Free Will, Love, ad needing to see the Beauty in Life to be able to see the Beauty in God. While I cannot find Bible verses to specifically state what they write about it, I can look at life and see how often people act just the way they describe, and how their reasons seem to make the most sense to me as to why.

While the Bible does not state it in so many words, it does support those principles.

See this is the trick with secondhand theology.

Firsthand theology is what the Bible clearly says, anyone who breaks from it is just a heretic, plain and simple. Someone who denies Jesus was raised from the dead, that Adam and eve were the first humans, that Gay Marriage is not expressly forbidden, those people are heretics. It’s simply not in there.

Secondhand theology is about the less vital stuff, but the stuff you live your life around. What to eat, what to wear, how to do church, how to do charity, how to raise your children.

The Bible is appropriately less specific here because any sensible person knows its gong to be different in different countries, times, and situations.

That’s where theologians and moralists come in, to give us principles that will work best in the most cases, and trust us to figure out the exceptions. That’s why if I read a Christian author who seems to feel it’s their way or the high way, I immediately take it less seriously, because they may not know all the situations that could prove their way doesn’t work.

An example here would be the very popular “Five Love Languages” books, that most Christians have heard of in the West, and some nonchristians too. I read it over and over, and used to believe it was infallible, it makes sense, after all. People are different, you got to love them differently.

I now have learned if an author every uses words like “we have overlooked a very crucial truth” about what they claim is their own discovery, there’s usually a reason it was overlooked.

Chesterton’s confession that he tried to come up with his own religion, and found out it was only “orthodoxy” is much more honest.

Do Love Languages exist? Of course, just like people like different colors and foods, they like different expressions of love. But it’s not a fix-all anymore than knowing your spouse’s favorite color means you can buy them clothes they will like.

Okay, so that’s basically how I do this. I do plenty of my own thinking about stuff also, especially when I see a really difficult question.

But at bottom, any honest person know they can always find people to back up their views, you can read selectively, you can go to a Church that’s an echo chamber for your own thoughts. I’ve seen that result in a lot of tension in my family, and others over the years. A lot of personal stress too.

One of my least favorite tests that God seems to like to use is the test of Trouble.

Test 3: Trouble (suffering, loss, disappointment, etc.)

When I’m in pain, emotional or physical, doesn’t matter, what I fall back on, what actually keeps me going, what pulls me out of that hole, whatever those truths are, those are the ones I know work. I know because I had to either learn that or die, at least so it felt.

For me, failure in knowing the truth is not an option.

(I wish I had a T-shirt that said that.)

People who say you don’t need to have an ultimate truth to live are liars, or they’re idiots, or they’ve had a carefree life. There are times when you look into that black abyss in your soul, and there is nothing in it to give you any inkling what you should do to even get up off the floor, and it’s then that you know if you didn’t have a Solid Rock to stand on, you’d fall, and never stop falling.

Very angsty I know, but that’s how it feels, isn’t it?

However, I wish I could say that test is foolproof, but it’s not. Our will to live and be happy is strong, and humans can pull themselves up, or pull each other up, and still not know the real truth. Those people are still generally closer to it than others, but it doesn’t make them Right.

If so, every cruel person who survived their messed up childhood would be right.

Test 4: Conscience, (i. e. What points us to that way of life we know deep down is right.)

When what we fall back on is Truth, it will be pointing us to a certain way of life that we all know, deep down, is true.

Whether they admit it or not, every human knows that Love is the only true way of life that’s acceptable, either to ourselves, each other, or God.

What we fall back on can either make us more loving, or more selfish. We may feel both to be true. We have to choose.

There are times when it seems like Christianity works for everyone except me and my family.

I look at happier families who had much more functional parents than mind, and they say it’s because of God.

I look at people who got delivered of their physical ailments and emotional issues, while I am still waiting.

I look at people who are achieving big things that I want to be able to do.

And then I look at the people I know who’s home lives are worse than mine, who have been sick a lot longer with far worse problems then mine, and who have had way more set backs in their goals. And I conclude, we just can’t measure Truth by how well our lives are going.

Truth will stand all of these tests. If something fails one of them, it’s just not true, a nice thought, but not true. At the very most it might be partially true because it connects to a Higher Truth, like the “power of positive thinking” mantra can be helpful because there is a power in gratitude and praise…but it will not prevent hardship in your life, nor remove it, as some claim.

Final Test: Consistency

The final test of Worldview I apply is more like being able to see if anything in your worldview is hypocritical. If what you fall back on one time is literally the opposite of what you do another time. Like it’s okay to lie when it’s convenient for you, but not when it was convenient for someone else. Or even more subtly, you may claim all truth is equal, and then protest that racism is wrong because all people are equal, i. e. a statement that requires a belief in the absolute truth that Equality is a Good Thing.

(And yes, I know people close to me who will make that exact argument and admit it’s hypocritical in a way, but still make it.)

I guess I took a long time to explain this, but basically, whatever I write on here, most of it is stuff I’ve tested by all the above measures. Or seen tested by other people.

If I have some blind spots, I’ll find out when I meet God face to face, but by then I don’t know if it will matter anymore.

I hope you enjoyed this and found something in it maybe you hadn’t heard before, until next time, stay honest-Natasha.

Lost in The Fire.

Well, the Oh Hellos released a new EP, and my Dad’s house burned down, so it’s been interesting since I last posted.

My dad wasn’t in it, thankfully. But he was pretty shook, as we say now.

Right now, it’s the third day of me waking up and seeing a yellow sky out my bedroom window. It’s so weird, like a post-apocalyptic teen movie. I guess there’s a strange beauty in it, and for a wonder, it’s been much cooler. I find it ironic that a fire burning had made it cooler, but one man’s loss is another man’s gain.

Fire does make rain too, so maybe in a few weeks we’ll reap some much needed benefits from this, but for now, no one is seeing it as a good thing.

People always say living on the West Coast is scary because of earthquakes, but the wildfires and arson every year are actually the biggest problem for us, way more than earthquakes.

Strange, my dad’s house was in danger a couple weeks back, but we prayed, and the wind actually changed direction just like we asked. So this time around, I didn’t even think about him being in danger of losing it.

When the ash starts falling down here in the valley, we know the fire is too close for comfort, even if we’re out of reach of it.

Falling Ash – Sam's Online Journal

I can’t explain why my dad’s house got spared once only to burn down two weeks later. Anymore than I can explain why Anne Frank made it to the allies winning the war, but still died in a Nazi prison camp.

In the fan fiction I write, I actually just had a fire happen in the story, literally af ew days before this, and was having the characters deal wtih the aftermath, asking some of the same questions that we’re aasking in real life now.

Why?

And what is the point?

When we get one miracle, sometimes it almost feels like mockery, especially if later we still lose the thing. Why get it longer at all? Why raise false hopes?

The Bible has examples of that too, the Israelites win one battle, lose the next. Get saved from their enemies, and years later, get taken captive. God warns them, but they probably were still confused, since when did they ever listen to the prophets, after all.

It could be that our idea that because we were saved once, we automatically will be saved the next time is actually foolish and not one God tells us to have.

God promises to always protect us, but not that it will look the way we want it to. Not that we will never lose anything.

Indeed, most of the Psalms is the author praying for emotional protection and protection from sinning, as well as physical protection.

There’s pretty much zero chance my dad will read this blog, (or listen to me, after all,) but I wonder if he’s thinking that all this just means he can’t win. He can’t be happy.

To be getting close to peace, and to have it wrenched away. Why does God allow this?

And me, personally, it’s a reminder that I may not be as far out of the woods as I think, in my own life.

Of course, safety is an illusion outside of God’s will. We never really know what will happen. We could walk out the door and get killed, or we could have an accident in our house. The only risk free thing to do it sit real still and never move…and then you die of starvation or lack of exercise.

God just doesn’t mean for us to do nothing dangerous our whole lives. Danger makes it worthwhile.

See, being better off from one minute to the next is something completely in our own heads, unless we measure it by how much we are trusting God. I am no safer this minute than I am on a mountain top in a lightning storm, it is just to me that it seems different.

It’s not wrong to think things are going well in our lives, or going poorly. The Bible certainly never tells us to throw out that standard, how else can we understand God’s goodness? But it cautions us to keep in mind that it is all a gift, not what we are owed.

I believe God does want each of us to be happy, in the right time and right context for happiness. But not a isngle one of us ahs a correct idea of happiness when we first walk with God.

My ideal of happiness as a new Christian was not to have trouble, not to have relationship problems, and to have a good career, husband, children, and be able to do what I loved doing.

To be honest, I still prefer all those things.

But I’ve had a series of rude awakenings that none of that gurantees happiness. To my amazement, I can be sad even if nothing is going wrong in my life at the moment, and I can be happy even if everything is going wrong.

Stasi Eldredge recently wrote a book titled “Defiant Joy” and I think that’s appropiate, the deepest Joy is usually defying the circumstances.

Suffering has a way of making us understand better whyt his world just cannot satisfy us, and our Joy is clearer when we see it depends on heavenly things, not earthly things.

I don’t just meant hat as a cliche, I mean that the ability to think about how heaven is, how God is over all, how we will live forever in that Reality, is the key to feeling true Joy.

You know, if I could give a pieve of advice to any new Christain, or curious seeker reading this, I’d tell them “Pay attaention to the cliches, the cliches are true.”

There’s hardly one Christian saying or teaching, which people usually roll their eyes at, that I have not found to be ultimately a profound truth.

“Just have Faith”

“You have to trust God”

“Don’t focus too much on earhtly things”

“God is in control”

We like to say that those just aren’t comforitng, that they make us feel liek no one is listening to our pain.

But I’ve come to see those sayings came form genrations of Christians going through trials, and finding that those really were the simple turhts they had to hold on to, in the end the simplest things are the most Comforitng. Like

“You’re not alone”

“God is in this.”

We say it because it’s true. Cliche or not.

I still think that God will “give me the desires of my heart” as the Word says, but I now know better that those desires will sometiems feel like a chore too.

I’m not married yet, but I do realzie once I am, there will be tiems my husband seems like more of an annoyance than a blessing. Same with children. Even if I live out my dream of adopting, I’ll certainly be tired of it at times.

I love teaching, but I don’t love it when I have a headache or didn’t sleep the night before.

Nothing mortal is always fun. Even worshipping God can be a struggle at times.

But, even so, it doesn’t make those things not worthwhile.

And losing them doesn’t mean you give up.

If I gave up every time I was disappointed, I’d not have anything left, that’s the honest truth.

I mean on everything, too. Deliverance from my personal problems, getting a job, getting a boyfriend, writing a successful book, getting a car, teaching.

All of it I got let down on a lot of times before I got any of those things, and I still am waiting on some.

I’ve learned the hard way that if you get knocked down, you really do have to get back up. Even if it’s not fair, even if it’s tragic, even if it’s tearing your heart out to keep going, you have to, or you’ll shrivel into nothing.

I think the Karate Kid remake actually summed that up in a beautiful way. (I liked the new one better than the old simply because I thought it had some deeper themes than just overcoming a bully problem, not that that’s bad, but of overcoming loss itself.)

The Bible says “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” {Proverbs 24:16}

I guess you know you’re the righteous by seeing if you got up again. It doesn’t take much to defeat someone who has no character.

They say the best way to heal from losing a pet is to get a new one soon. I think that is true. It’s easier to dare to love again if you don’t let the memory of your love fade away, along with the pain, by not loving anything else again.

Rebounding is not always healthy, but it can be far worse to close off forever. No, it is far worse.

All this to say, whatever you lose, you need to rebound. Wisely, but do it. It’s the only way to heal.

I believe that is why at the end of Job, God gives him all he had, doubled, save for his children, since God seems to count the ones who died as still being part of the number, a note of respect most people miss reading that story (I got it pointed out by someone else).

God’s message is not that the loss didn’t matter, but that Job, having lost everything, had to start again if he would be restored. That is the only way to heal.

Job is one of the only Old Testament men mentioned to have given his daughters an inheritance, treating them as equals to his sons. We aren’t told why he did this, but perhaps he realized that in life, you should bless people as much as you can while you can, because you really have nothing certain, and gender and age just don’t matter as much as we think.

Job loved harder after losing everything, and that is how I want to be. I want my loss to mean that in the future, I’ll give more to people I wouldn’t have before.

Well, that is all for now, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why should we make our bed in the morning?

Yesterday marked my 4th straight week of being off coffee. This is from someone who loves the taste of coffee and has drunk it almost every day since I was 15 or 16.

I went off it because of my infection, coffee is bad for a sore mouth, too acidic, but I realized in the onset of headaches, energy drops, and cravings that followed that I am a little too dependent on coffee. I’m no addict, but still, I don’t love the side effects.

My mood changed too. I wake up and feel a little down most mornings, low energy, empty stomach, etc. Coffee can help jolt me into productivity, I usually work on creative stuff in the morning, and do actual work in the afternoon. Of course, needing caffiene is part of what makes that feeling, so I’ve created the problem I’m trying to solve. Who can relate?

Today, I felt better than I have in days waking up, but it’s funny how when my obdy does better, my mood tends to swing back to fighting off the blues.

I’ve noticed illness can be a distraction from other problems. Some people are forever worrying about their body, who are probably actually perfectly fine, because that’s easier than facing the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, or angry about something in their life.

Of course crippling anxiety comes with illness, for me, a lot, though I’m getting over that, but to me anxiety is an old feeling, and Im used to it. The feeling that my life has stopped, will never change, will always be this gray, drab indoor existance, that is what I prefer not to focus on, when I don’t feel well, that’s easier.

Not that I prefer feeling ill. It’s a vicious cycle.

This morning I was going to watch a movie (I bet some of you wish your mornings were so free you could watch movies on a Friday, but sometimes it just makes me feel like loser) and I was going to watch G. I. Jane (good film), but it was unavailable all of the sudden, so I selected a movie my mom recommended and I was planning on watching: “Julie and Julia.”

If you like cooking or human interest stories, I think you’ll like this film, but this post is not a review.

It’s just that the film brought some things to mind.

I dont know about you, but since quarantine really started dragging out–you know, after the first 2 weeks– I’ve had issues watching anything that reflects any of the emotions we’re all feeling. Fear, depression, a sense of purposelessness.

But converseley, watching anything about freedom, happiness, and the perfect ending also grinds my gears, it’s like its taunting me with a “You can’t have this. Your life is on a loop.”

I know I’m talking to someone here.

Basically, I’m tired of living through a screen, one way or another. But reading has had rather the same effect, it’s almost worse in a book, I get more into it emotionally. I just read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and that was a rollercoaster, but hey, being in hiding, being in lockdown, there’s a lot of similarities. Anne describes the living for the little things, the brief glimps of the outside worl through a window, or through friends coming over. The frustratation of being stuck with other people, the joy of finding solace in other people…etc.

The fear of something going horribly worng. Even if at times she felt her life wasnt worth living, she was terrified at the idea of losing it.

Yeah, it hits home, doesn’t it. At least I know Im not crazy.

I figure everyone feels the same as I do, so there’s no reason I should hide it.

I was walking down a street yesterday, and I heard some women talking very loudly, the hwole block could have practically heard it, about having troulbes in their relationships. One was, anyway, and she felt seh had no reason to have a meltdown, no reason to feel this way, she was supposed to be happy. The other woman loudly told her that the whole world has never gonet hrough anything like this, we’re all in it.

I felt both sympathetic, and like laughing at this.

On the one hand, I feel you, ladies. I really do.

On the other, its pretty narcissistic or else just ignorant, to say the whole world has never gone through something like this. Oh yes it has. This is still small compared to WWII, the Great Depression, the Communist Threat in the East and Russia. I’ve read the books, it was just like this, but worse, because we can still go out, still face-time our friends, and still lead relatively normal lives, just differently. Some of those people couldn’t trust their own family not to turn them in. Couldn’t trust they wouldn’t be shot if they left their house.

I know, there’s been rioting here in the USA, so some people don’t feel safe, but it’s not every single place in the country.

Things could be a whole lot worse. And as a Christian, I have it on authority, one day they will be. But this is not the end yet. It can’t last forever.

You know what’s strange, not a single person I know at my church has contracted the virus. I’ve not heard of one. Even their families for the most part. Fortunately, no one in my own family has got it either.

Even with the knowledge that we are relativley blessed compared to past crisis, I understand many people have lost someone, or are simply depressed because of the constant gloom.

You have my condolences if you have lost someone, but there’s not much I can say about something I haven’t gone through, so I will focus on what I can perhaps help a little with.

I honestly feel like, part of the problem is that we all have toom uch time to think, about all the things, not just that we wanted to do in the future, but that we have failed to accomplish in the past.

We’re not where we want to be, and now it feels like were not even getting there, because we’re stuck in the same place, with the same people, every single day. Week after week. Month after months, has it really been 8 months? At least for some countries, I think it’s 6 months here, soon.

Before, I could do things that distracted me from feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought, I’m at least working on getting there, but now it feels like that ground to a halt, not by my own choice, and I feel out of control. Hence the depression many people are feeling.

My sister says that it’s human nature, not know what will happen makes us wonder if anything is worth it, but if we knew what was coming, we’d be afraid of it because of our mortality. I guess that’s why so many myths portray finding out the future to be a fearsome thing that causes people to make really stupid decisions, which end up leading to the bad things they knew would happen, or else, ruining the good things they were told would happen.

Yet, Jesus told us the future, and said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

How?

Well, I’m still figurien that out.

I’m at the stage where one little dissappointment feels huge, because I have so few things to anticipate happening. I wanted to cry when I heard the next season of my favorite show would be delayed till next year.

And one good thing happening feels tenous. Like “but if this goes worng, then what?”

And, it has gone wrong. I can’t say a whole lot of good things have happened to me this year. Though my problems started before the lockdown did.

We’ve all heard that the little things are important. Like you should make your bed every day, you should brush your hair, take a walk. Cook.

And we’re like “why? Who cares?” I see it all over where anyone talks about quarantine, people aren’t showering, doing laundry, or cooking or anything. PEople thought they’d be productive, but now they are finding that if human approval was all you were ever after trying to work, and play, and such, then once it’s removed, you have no motivation.

Pays to be home-schooled your whole life and taught to love learning for its own sake, and to do work because it mattered to your God and your family, and not to earn browning points at school. My mom didn’t do grades. Now I make A’s and B’s. Guess not knowing all those years didn’t hurt me at all.

but I struggle with feeling like it’s all meaningless too.

But I had a thought today. When we do these menial tasks, as repetitive as they are, it’s kind of like an act of faith, an act of hope. We’re sort of saying, to our family, ourselves, and our God, that “I still care. This still matters. Because I believe that doing the small things leave me open to do the big things.”

I cook a meal today because I believe cooking will be important in the future. Even if it doesn’t feel like it matters now.

Even if cooking dosn’t matter, my family eating does.

Making the bed doesn’t matter that much in of itself, but doing your daily duty, it matters becaues it’s the daily things that remind us of the long term things.

C. S. Lewis got at the idea that th Present is the closest thing any of us experience to Eternity. And Eccleistates says that God has put Eternity into the hearts of man.

Christian think that heaven will be an eternal Now. All things will be happening at once, yet nothing will overlap. Something we can probably only even imagine though dreams, because time is odd in dreams.

And the every day things are important because, when you think about it, Heaven doesn’t really touch our lives at any time except in the present. We can’t live in the future, we shouldn’t live in the past.

If I try to live into even 6 days ago, I end up in a world of hurt, because I’m borrowing troulbe I already went through and going through it again.

I think this quarantine is kind of liek that. If we think about how long it’s gone on, we’re exhausted, and it feels like we’re serving out a sentance.

When Corrie Ten Boom was in soliatary confinement, she learned to make every little thing she did count. If she had a chore, she did that, if she had ants to watch, she would stop the chore and do that. She would read scripture “until the pain stopped” and it became more alive.

Funny, reading the Bible doesn’t make me feel worse. It truly is the book for the suffering person. It never minimizes suffering, but it promises a renewel of strength for those who suffer. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall laugh” (Luke 6).

The Bible also tells us to do everything we do as to Christ. I think this means what people are trying to say when they say “live in the moment.” Be fuly present.

You know what robs me of joy the most in my life is not sorrow itself, but being distracted by thinking about my problems. When I do things I ejoy, my mind will wander onto it all.

Take a second, ask yourself, how many times doing anything I liked lately hve I quantified it by a reference to the lockdown or virus?

Ive heard it from everyone “Right now we can’t do anything else but…”

“Everything’s crazy right now so I didn’t…”

“Because of quarantine I binged…”

If we were brutally honest, we’d admit we would have done or not done all those things even if quarantine hadn’t happened. It’s just a really convientednt exuse.

But here’s something I wouldn’t have done without this:

I wouldn’t have made a new friend in my ASL class probably, or not as fast.

I wouldn’t have tried as many new recipes and found out I liked being creative in cooking.

I wouldn’t have gotten to know the people at my church better from hearing their stories and seeing who was consistant enough to keep coming and trying to connect.

I maybe even will get a job because of it, fingers crossed.

And yes, I’ve spent too much time watching stuff, but I did find some new shows I liked that maybe wouldn’t have sounded as interesting without this.

I’ve read more books too.

And I’ve gotten closer to God, and my family.

Is it all good, no.

And do I still need to learn how to live in the moment. Yes.

But here’s the thing, what if we all stopped focusing on what we lost because of this, and started looking at what we gained? Or what we still have. What we can still do. And instead of measuring it by quarentine, look at it as outside of it. Something that isn’t really touched by this trial.

The Word says everything that can be shaken will be shaken until all that remains is what cannot be shaken.

So, maybe we should look at what hasn’t been shaken.

If nothing else, people will always be arguing about politics as long as free speech exists, which I hope is still for a long time. I get annoyed with it, but I’d rather have constant arguing than lose the ability to argue in public at all. Think about that.

I still get restless, and I’m sure I will again, even today. But if I’m growing closer to be able to just be present to everything here, then I am growing stronger.

In the end that’s what Anne Frank learned, and what Corrie Ten Boom learned, and what everyone who survives and thrives in these times learns. not to never be depressed, that’s impossible, but to live for the Now. Whatever the Now happens to be.

Looking ahead is good, too, that’s how we hope. But it’s good to appreciate what we already have.

Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s something. There’s some who don’t even have that.

I guess I’ll end this with a challenge, if anyone has read this far down (thank you) then how about you comment something that you gained or still have even after all that’s happened. Anything’ll do. We all need to talk more to each other about it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Intersex: An essay about an unusual topic.

I don’t know if I’ll publish this, but I did some digging about a weird topic today.

A lot of people don’t know what Intersex is, but with rising Transgender movements, it’s bound to be talked about.

Intersex is a general term for a set of genetic mutations that cause either a malformation in male or female reproductive organs, or the producing of both, or sexual problems later in life like too low hormones or other dysfunctions.

Intersex people are actually mostly straight, with a small amount saying they are gay or trans or other.

A lot of them have surgery done to fix their problem, which is now controversial in practice, but many choose to keep the gender their parents chose, or that is predominant.

The LGBT community is of course using this as evidence that being trans is scientifically normal, and proven.

In America, LGBT just got included under the Civil Rights act, I am surprised more that it hadn’t happened already, I thought it was already included since people get sued all the time over not hiring someone.

With corporations, it makes more sense to insist on standards in each branch, but private businesses should have it left up to them…and quite frankly, the government is never going to be able to control them all that effectively anyway, it’s a stupid law that is likely to cause more trouble for the corporation who already hire those people than for the private businesses that don’t. Unless you can prove that was the reason, which you can’t unless they say so.

It just gives people the chance to make allegations that they cannot back up with evidence, and cause trouble for businesses. It doesn’t help the LGBT pride cause either, anyone can claim discrimination, but without evidence, the issue will not be clear, people will have their own opinions about it. That’s all there is to it.

Personally, I don’t really care that much, except to find it ridiculous that they think this solves anything.

Anyway, I found the term intersex online and decided to look into the scientific evidence for it supporting a Transgender lifestyle.

Scientifically, what is being Intersex?

I always take it with a grain of salt when people who have the LGBT agenda say these things, because obviously they want science to back up their lifestyle.

But science is a bad measure for your lifestyle for a couple reasons, unless you know some parameters for the evidence.

The first reason is if you look at science as just facts, you will neglect the cause of those facts.

Fact: Cancer cells are in your body every day, but your immune system fights them too fast to make you sick, usually.

Cause?

The causes of cancer cells are malfunctions in healthy cells, and its heightened by a lack of certain nutrients, I am not a doctor so I don’t know that much about it, but it’s not a Natural phenomenon, in the way we mean natural, that is, the way it is supposed to be for you to function healthily.

Without the cause, you may misunderstand what Cancer is, but the effects of cancer are so obviously negative that most people will not question it’s unnatural.

Another case in point, puberty is a natural thing, but early puberty can be caused by poor nutrition and hormones that should not be in your body in that amount, it can come from food, environment, genetics, etc.

Early puberty is a problem because your mind doesn’t mature as fast as your body, I believe other health problems can follow it, but the emotional problems can certainly be an issue, if you are not around a good community.

So, natural and unnatural are tricky words when we are talking about DNA. If natural means what’s in DNA, then Down Syndrome and other similar syndromes are “natural” because an extra chromosome is produced. But at this time, no one considers it the optimal state to be in, and the downsides are obvious, reduced maturity, and often a heart condition that can cause a lot of problems.

Dwarfism is the same way. Even being over 7 feet tall is bad for you because your body cannot get enough oxygen for your lungs and heart from the air. (Look it up, I can’t go into the whole process here.)

Once I read that Intersex can be caused by extra X chromosomes; I wondered if it was like Down Syndrome.

Down Syndrome is more likely to occur in older women who get pregnant; my mom was actually warned about it with my sister. But she’s fine, she did develop reading abilities much slower than me and my other sibling, but she’s perfectly able to function, it just took longer. Some kids are like that. Talking was never a problem for her.

Intersex people can be what we would consider regular, in physical terms, but have a hormone problem that causes their reproductive parts to either not develop, or not work. The reason this is not a good argument for gender fluidity is that this hormone insensitivity problem can also cause cancer or make it more likely.

That’s in the case of men usually but also women can have it. Women have testosterone, just less of it.

In other cases, the reproductive organs either don’t form or don’t finish forming or form in a weird shape that can effect fertility.

When that happens the causes can range from the mother having a tumor that produced too much of a hormone that changed the baby’s development, taking male hormones during pregnancy, a deficiency in an enzyme, or a condition that causes the limiting of reproductive hormones and can be life threatening.

Not a lot of people know this (at least from memory), but testosterone is a part of keeping more than just your reproductive organs functioning: it helps your body keep other organs going, and I believe the heart is one of them. A deficiency in it is serious.

It makes sense men have more as they do more hard labor, at least historically, but women have it too, and some have more of it–it can make them have a higher sex drive, but other than that I think it’s harmless, though there’s probably a condition of having too much. I didn’t look that up, obviously it would cause the opposite problem.

The rare case of having both male and female organs has unknown causes, but some evidence has linked it exposure to pesticides. In the past when it occurred, it’s likely people were exposed to toxic metals or plants, since all throughout history humans have used things that were toxic, like lead, in unhealthy ways, and not known it.

And yes, Inter-sexuality has been around for thousands of years. People have looked at it in many different ways, linking it to higher spirituality in some cultures, witchcraft in others (African, notably), and the Catholic church took rather a common sense approach, considering how Christians tend to treat differences, and just said to identify the person with what was predominant and called them “congenital eunuchs” probably because often they cannot reproduce.

Based on all this, I think it’s common sense to draw the conclusion that this condition is not normal, in the same sense that cancer, down syndrome, and other mutations are not normal.

That does not make anyone who has it not human, nor does it make them some kind of monster. That would be foolish.

In most of these cases, it would be simple to figure out which sex the baby was by tracing what causes the mutation, since it is different in males and females. Which is why the parents choosing the gender isn’t so far fetched; it’s sounds entirely plausible to me. Just look at what genes it started from and assume the divergence is a mutation. Saying it changes their gender is more of a philosophical question than a scientific one.

A lot of people with this condition can still live as fully functioning, sexually active people and may not even know they have it. In that case, making an issue of it seems silly.

Intersex people themselves can resent the suggestion that this makes them trans. Though it’s easy to see where the mistake comes from.

My point is, based on how this occurs, it’s a mutation. A mutation cannot prove a lifestyle is morally acceptable.

This mutation is said to be about as common as red hair. Scientifically, that makes using it to justify a moral stance about akin to the “gingers have no soul” internet meme.

It does not happen naturally, but because of outside factors that lead to a deficiency, or an excess of hormones, that cause other problems that are decidedly “not good.”

Like all mutations, it’s not beneficial in the long run. Even if it can be good in one way, it means a loss or confusion of genetic information which will lower your resistance to other problems.

There will be people who say I am saying this just to justify looking at this through the lens of my religion, and they’d be right in that I might not care if I was not a Christian, but as a Christian,  have an interest in knowing if Science truly does contradict the Bible.

And according to the research, it doesn’t.

Let me explain:

What would the Bible say about being Intersex?

The Bible teaches the in the Beginning, He made them male and female.

The Bible teaches also that the reason God did this was so that the humans would fill the earth with their offspring; in most of nature you need a male and female to reproduce, even in species with male and female sex organs, you need two of them, they can’t reproduce with themselves (ew).

The Bible says man and woman together comprise the image of God, meaning that each of us has characteristics that are more like God than the other, and fitting them together is the complete picture.

The Bible also records genetic mutations, as in the case of Giants, and having 6 toes and such, so it is not ignorant of those thing occurring.

It make no mention of Intersex that I know of, but it doesn’t really need to because the question is already answered.

In the beginning, male and female.

And intersex person at conception is male or female; the mutation occurs at some point in the development. The Bible does not teach that human genetics cannot be altered by unnatural conditions, it actually teaches the opposite. The giants were caused by that.

Just as genetics can be altered by chemicals, radiation, toxins, and any number of bad life decisions on our part.

The scary thing about human DNA is that it is human: we have the ability to effect our children with our choices, and other people can effect them also. It’s part of living around each other and having the free will to use things we shouldn’t.

Drugs alter your cells too, doesn’t make it good, and it can be handed down genetically. The good news is, until you activate it, the genes for addiction are dormant.

Another Reason to Talk About this:

I think that some people, if they find out they are Intersex, may wonder if that conflicts with their Christian beliefs, and if God has not really made them male or female.

It looks to me like the evidence is against that. I don’t believe Gender is really a choice, either biologically or spiritually, but lifestyle is. Doesn’t make it right.

People confuse choice with Good. Choice is a fact: you can choose. It doesn’t make what you choose good just because you chose it. Which is obvious when applied to any crime everyone agrees is bad, like rape, but when it’s something people want very much to justify, they pretend it doesn’t matter.

No one would be crazy enough (I hope) to say rape is okay because it was the rapist’s choice to abuse someone else’s body for their own convenience, but they will say it’s okay to abort a baby for the same reason.

There is no difference between these two things, except that one is popular to think is wrong, and the other popular to think is okay…well, that and a baby can neither defend itself nor cry for help…audibly.

I am just hitting all those nerves aren’t I?

Well, as always, I am not hating on anyone who lives a way I don’t agree with, anymore than I will hate on anyone who’s had an abortion. We are all sinners. But I do not have to pretend I think it’s okay, and I do not have to support it.

The point of this was that science still does not disprove the Bible.

Incidentally, The Bible makes clear what God’s design was, but never says it has not been altered by men, and that nature is not corruptible. It actually says that nature is affected by man and the sins we commit against it.

I am not teaching that being Intersex is caused by sinning, either by parents or children. Jesus warned us not to assume that. I think it can be caused by too many different things to conclude that.

The truth is that sin caused the production of chemicals, toxins, and abnormal amounts of hormones due to diseases related to those things, that then causes mutations. It may be no fault of the parent, just their environment that they could not control.

Unless they did that on purpose, and then, yeah, that’s wrong… sorry, just is. You shouldn’t risk messing with your kid’s DNA while you are pregnant.

Well, this was an unusual topic for me. Obviously all this is a layman’s opinion, not  pastor’s, but I am well read and in college, so my knowledge of science and theology is fairly good for being a layman.

Take it for what it’s worth, and I hope you walk away at least with the confidence that there are counterpoints to be made to the propaganda we hear and to always watch what someone with an agenda is saying about scientific evidence.

I do have an agenda, but I acknowledge their points. People would say someone like me would never admit to those extra chromosomes (in fact, some were saying that when I found this thread of info) and have an answer for it.

But I can and do, and if my God was so pathetic as to be destroyed by a few mutations, my theology couldn’t have been very good to begin with. Christian Theology leaves plenty of room for science, contrary to popular opinion, and many of the Great Scientists were and still are Christians.

If this blog ever gets taken down for expressing these views, then I won’t really be surprised. I figure it’s a matter of time before the internet limits free speech to that extent, but deleting my site doesn’t delete Me.

And even if it did, it wouldn’t make me wrong. This isn’t about me. It’s about the Truth.

Which people who don’t want to will never accept, and I don’t expect them to do so. But I don’t apologize for my beliefs.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Out-growing.

What a time to be in a national crisis.

My History Professor taught us about the Rwanda Holocaust today, just to lighten the mood (okay, okay, so it was already in the curriculum, not her fault.)

She had some personal experience, having worked in Rwanda for awhile.

Needless to say, it was an upsetting Class lecture. I’d already read the famous “Left to Tell” book, but have yet to work up the courage to watch Hotel Rwanda.

I was feeling good before class, but it left me kind of depressed.

It’s rough to be going through the Therapy/Recover experience at the same time as a National Crisis, and now a national scandal with rioting and protests.

It never rains but it pours is such a true saying.

When someone is in recovery, it can help to be able to focus on the world outside of yourself. To be involved in things bigger than you.

And it does help me to volunteer at my church’es food bank.

But all my other activities have been cut off. I can not leave my house for days on end. Even to go in the backyard.

I have lived my life around indoor activities my whole life.

I never thought it was strange that my mom wouldn’t take us to the park, or to events to hang out with other kids, except at church.

I never thought it was weird that the only other time I left the house was for “educational field trips” which I would never know anyone else at.

We had some play dates when I was little, but after awhile it died out. My mom doesn’t maintain friendships for very long, I notice.

So, I learned to be a bookworm, a writer, a backyard play person.  My sibling and I invented a very detailed imaginary world for our toys.

I’ve heard of other kids doing this, but interestingly, they were also ones without many friends. It’s like we have to fill the void of needing interaction somehow, and we’ll invent people if we don’t know them.

The trouble is, if you become content to just stay in that imaginary land, you will begin to think it’s better, and learn to dislike people for not being as easy to manage as your fantasies.

As a bookworm, I read plenty of books centered around characters with rich imagination. I loved the Anne of Green Gables series.

Yet with age I’ve realized how unhelpful it is to live in a world of fantasies… not that fancies are bad. I think they are good. Any healthy adult ought to be able to have fancies that are childlike.

But when you substitute that for reality, it means you don’t want to accept your reality.

Sometimes its okay to cope that way, often we have no other way, and fancies are preferable to the destructive habits many of us develop.

But someday you have to grow up. Because you have to decide what you will be. Who you will be. Your fiction will never dot hat for you, you have to do it in the real world.

The best fiction prepares you for that, while escapist fiction is hampering it.

And escapist fiction isn’t generally fairy tales, the worse fiction is the ugly, engorged stuff that feeds all the worst things in us. Porn, smut, superficial romance, mindless comedy, all that is far worse for you than an innocent kids story will be.

The reason kids blur fantasy and reality is because they know that one affects the other, its adult who tell ourselves our fantasy and reality are separate lives.

(Kids are the more biblical by the way, Jesus taught that your imagination is still part of who you are, and even where you sin the most.)

Anyway, for me it was sad to let go of fantasies. I cry every time I read the end of Winnie the Pooh, or watch Hook. It’s bittersweet.

Yet, like many adults, I can’t get away from the feeling that I traded fancies for something less good. Like my real life is underwhelming and uninspiring. Boring. Meaningless save for snatches of importance.

Yet, if I were asked to define what I think a meaningful life is, I wouldn’t say an exciting one.

I would list off a life filled with genuine love, doing what you were meant to do, impacting people on a personal level, and above all, knowing God well, as the top qualifications.

And my life isn’t so bad.

I have this blog, with over 140 followers now. It’s doing better than ever.

A growing YouTube channel based off doing something else I love.

I write my own stuff hours every day, and I love it.

I like school and I get to go almost for free.

Not having a job or boyfriend are annoyances, but not defining ones.

And I have my faith, which is worth more than all the rest.

I also have friends I can talk to more often then I’ve ever been able to before.

So, why do I not feel happy?

There’s this quote from “Through the Looking Glass” that sums up most of adult life, I think.

“Here it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place.”

There are times when it takes all you’ve got to just sit still, to just rest where you are at.

As Switchfoot put it in their recent song “Give me the Strength to Let Go.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujo984rLHRA)

It takes strength to let go.

You see, even as a kid, I was a dreamer. I was never content with fancies. I couldn’t wait to be an adult so I could get out and do what I wanted. Make a real difference.

I wanted to travel, to teach, to take care of orphans.

I am one of those people who just wants to heal everyone’s pain. Who wants to have enough love and patience to help them all. To have the provisions to give.

I have been like this as long as I can remember. I can date first realizing it to reading “A Little Princess” and “Heidi.” But it was in a lot of books I read growing up.

My parents didn’t teach me this really, they taught me the principle of giving, but we didn’t go out and do stuff like that, like this other homeschooled Christian family I know. We stayed at home in our own little bubble.

And I got used to it. I feel secure in it. But I was at war with it, because I was always dying to get out.

From birth I was bolder than my other family, and I can attest to it with a lot of stories. But I can’t explain it, no one taught me to be that way, I just was.

I always took the Bible seriously, I guess, you have to watch people like that.

My point?

Well, maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe some of you have always felt too big for the space you live in.

I can be scared to go outside, but that fear was learned, it wasn’t innate. I hate it even as I feel it.

Maybe you do too.

This whole crisis has got people scared stiff, but a lot of us feel boxed in. We hate it. We hate the fear, some of us because we feel it trying to get a hold of us, and we don’t want it to.

AFter God began healing me, I often had the sensation of being chased by some dark monster I had escaped from, trying to get me back into its clutches.

Freedom comes in two steps. First there’s the initial freedom of release, and new perspectives and new opportunities, and then there’s the Freedom of Security, no longer feeling you will get drawn back in.

Even people who get out of prison experience those two phases, so it’s a quite literal phenomenon as well as a spiritual one.

I still get that sensation sometimes. It took years for me to stop feeling that way about living in fear, and now I have to fight feeling that way about being emotionally abused.

That’s why I think it takes all that running to stay still. It takes all your strength to hold on to the progress you’ve made.

Talking to God about it, I don’t really get any clue as to when this process will be over (both for the world, and for myself).

All I get is the idea that I have to let go of trying to fix my future, and fix everything around me.

I don’t think my dream as a kid to heal and help people was bad, it was just seldom realized. Still isn’t as often as I wish.

When it is, I feel the most right with myself.

But usefulness is not the basis of self worth. IT’s good to ahve a purpose, necessary even, but one has to be first and foremost God’s child.

Letting go is hard, it takes more work not to work, not to try to run ahead of God.

And we still have to do our tasks at hand that He has given us, we just can’t try to do the next thing, before we’re even sure what it is.

I still feel trapped and hemmed in, same as when I was a kid. I can’t even say how long that will be my circumstances.

I don’t know. None of us do.

I keep waiting to go from feeling frustrated about it to being at peace with it.

It’s easy to think, “Well, all this hasn’t changed, so nothing ever will. I will always be this way.”

That isn’t realistic, however. Even if I wanted to stay the same, I couldn’t.

This all bothers me most at times like this when I’m stuck at home, and can’t do a thing about it. And everyone is sharing that feeling now.

Whether you’re like me, and this feels like a repeat of your whole life, or you are entirely new to being a homebody unwillingly, we’re all in the same boat.

No predicting when it will end.

But, the thing that helps me most I think, is to thing that this time must be preparing me for something.

The thing is, people tell me a lot that I have a lot of Wisdom.

The only way that I got to be that way was being alone so much, and asking God to help me with that. I had to learn it all the solitary way, with books and movies as inspiration.

People who’ve always been around lots of others aren’t necessarily wiser, hardly ever in my experience. Other people pull at you, they mold you, and it can often be in bad ways.

I had to develop a very strong core personality. And while I don’t like all the alone time, I am glad for being able to know much more what I really believe in.

So, try to think of it like that. Whatever else this crisis is, it is time to try to learn something new, to build up strength in isolation.

Something all humans have to learn sooner or later if we intend to mature.

Anyway, that’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.